Tornado in the Darlington Locomotive Works siding

The assembly of Tornado has mostly taken place at the A1 Trust's Darlington Locomotive Works, bringing together components manufactured around the country, and some from overseas.


Actual manufacture and construction had started in 1994, before the Darlington works opened, with casting of the cylinders (late 1994) and wheels, cutting of the frames and construction of the cab. The locomotive frames were assembled at Tyseley Locomotive Works, Birmingham, being ceremonially laid there on 5 January 1995, and completed by October 1996.

In March 1997, Tornado, as a completed frame and inside cylinder, was displayed at the Great Hall at the NRM for several weeks, transported from Tyseley by an EWS freight wagon. She returned to Tyseley to await completion of the Darlington works. The elements of Tornado were brought together with the opening of Darlington Locomotive Works in 1997, and the opening ceremony saw the unveiled locomotive, now consisting of the frame with its 3 cylinders and cab attached. Spring 1998 saw the smokebox construction started and the tyres fitted, and by 1999 forging of the motion components started, with the first delivery of components commencing in January 2000.


Tornado in 2002, awaiting a boiler

By September 1999, the last wheel had been pressed onto the wheelset, which was delivered to Darlington by July 2000. By January 2000, the front bogie had been assembled. With the fitting of these parts, the mounting of the frame onto the wheelset, and fitting of the smokebox, by the end of 2000, the most visible missing parts of Tornado were the boiler and tender.

Post-2000, assembly and setting of the motion proceeded, and attention turned to the design of the boiler; a 250,000 appeal was launched. Tornado became a rolling chassis by October 2002, and achieved the first synchronous movement of the motion and all wheels in August 2004.


2005 also saw construction of the boiler in Germany, with construction begun on 16 October, and completed in time for delivery on 16 July 2006. By June 2007 Tornado's internal construction was sufficiently complete to allow fitting of the boiler to the frame, using a 100-ton crane. The most complex casting, the superheater header, was started in 2007, and after defeating two foundries the complex shape was cast by a third supplier.

Owing to space constraints at Darlington works, the Tornado tender frames and body were built off-site, with the body being significantly built locally in Darlington. The tender wheelsets were assembled by an East Lancs Railway-based company. The tender frame and wheel set were united by December 2007, and the tank attached to it by February 2008.